There is a difference between blue and purple belts…a big one. Being a fresh purple belt, I can’t tell you what it’s like to be a purple just yet, but I know what made me one…flow and confidence.
As a blue belt, you know how to escape, you know not to make stupid mistakes like trying a cross-collar while you’re in a guard, and you don’t do it. But there’s one big thing that I have noticed that begins the separation…the open guard, of which there are many.
Think of it as the basic five – closed guard, side control, mount, half guard and taking the back. Every white belt experiences the tap-out from these positions and every blue belt is aware of what they can do from here…but what is forgotten is the open guard.
When I have someone in closed guard, it is a given that they will break my feet and begin a pass…white belt or not, give them a year and they will break it. I’m now aware of this. What most people think is “fuck it” and instantly try to get an elbow and knee in the opponent’s hips and prepare for a good position from the inferior side-control postions – why? Because they have no open guard.
Let me define this quickly: The open guard is the position between closed guard (your feet locked with opponent in-between) and side control.
I have yet to meet a purple belt that doesn’t know the De LaRiva or spider or butterfly guard, and trying to get past it is a bigger pain in the ass than being a skinny white cat in Detroit prison. It is imparative that you know these whether you be an mma fighter or sport jiu jitsu player. These guards add an extra element to your game. Don’t let someone break your feet and get side control – make it hard for them. You’ve heard the term “I can’t get around his legs!” Well, that’s not because the other guy has long legs or is flexible, it’s because his open guard is owning your ass, like it or not.
I said before that purple belts “flow”. What I mean is that I’m confident in my escapes. I may not be able to get out of whatever position I’m in, but the other guy is going to have a bitch of a time keeping me down. Now that I’m not worried about getting in an inferior position, I can attack. Mike Hermosillo introduced me to the De LaRiva guard. it’s beautiful. Here is a fantastic example of it:
It is much too complicated to put into words, so you can google it, but it is extremely effective. I recently got into incorporating this guard into my game and 90% of the time, people have no idea what to do, and when your opponent has no idea what to do, you conserve energy and have the advantage, and that equals gold medals. If they eventually get through it, fine. If they do get through it, and you put them back in guard, they know they have to go through all that shit again, it takes a tremendous toll on their will to fight. As General George S. Patton said:
Take away an enemy’s will to fight, and you’ve won the battle
…truer words have never been spoken, and I don’t care what belt you are, if you’ve tried for five minutes to get through someone’s guard and finally succeed only to be put back into it, you slump, you frown, you say to yourself, “shit…”, and you quit on yourself…welcome to bronze medals.
Chances are you’re reading this to find out what it takes to get purple belt…it’s your open guard and confidence. Of course you don’t want to be put in an inferior position, but don’t be afraid of it. I don’t remember my dad saying many things that have stuck with me in life, but one did –
“They may beat you, but they’ll be a hurting motherfucker when they do, and they won’t want that again.”